The South Korean government will invest 50 billion won ($46.2 million) to employ self-driving technology on public bus system and cargo trucks to be ready for test run on roads from next year.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Wednesday that it will invest 37 billion won on developing a public transit system with self-driving buses and 13.6 billion won on designing automated platooning system for cargo trucks. It will officially kick off the two projects with goals to be completed by December 2021, on Friday.
Of 45 self-driving vehicles cleared for run on roads, just four are buses and do not include any trucks. Permitted vehicles can run all around the country except for protected zones for children, senior and disabled citizens.
State-run Korea Transport Institute will work with local automakers and telecom service providers on developing self-driving buses and designing public transportation network for the autonomous vehicles with an aim to have eight unmanned buses ready for test runs on public roads by 2021, starting with two small buses next year.
Separately, Korea Express Corp will lead a project building an automated platooning system for self-driving trucks. The state-run company will cooperate with engineers from academia and local automakers on designing a system that would have a fleet of self-driving cargo trucks to move in sync for higher efficiency and safer driving. The government aims to run platooning trials on public roads with two trucks next year and four by 2021.
By Yeon Gyu-wook and Cho Jeehyun
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